Don’t Take Anything Personally

Don’t Take Anything Personally

A different “take” on the second of The Four Agreements.

First, I have several times referred to living our life as making a movie. This movie is a virtual reality of what we experience internally as we move through our life. The word “take” is a very appropriate word to describe each experience that we record. A “take” is literally “a scene or sequence of sound or vision photographed or recorded continuously at one time”.

Definition of take
verb
1. lay hold of (something) with one’s hands; reach for and hold.
Similar: lay hold of, take hold of, get hold of, get into one’s hands, grasp, grip, clasp, clutch, grab
Opposite: give
2. remove (someone or something) from a particular place.
Similar: remove, pull, draw, withdraw, extract, fish, confiscate, take possession of
Opposite: give
noun
1. a scene or sequence of sound or vision photographed or recorded continuously at one time.
Similar: scene, sequence, filmed sequence, clip, part, segment
2. an amount of something gained or acquired from one source or in one session.
Similar: catch, haul, bag, yield, net, revenue, income, gain

Second, I wish to differentiate between “I” and “me”.

“I” exists separate from the physical body. It is a detached observer or witness for the body. It is non-judgmental and will step aside and allow the “me” to experience anything that it chooses and have an opportunity to learn any lessons that accompany the experience.

“Me” is the physical body. It has five senses that are recording devices that operate continuously. It sees itself as the center of everything and creates expectations, judgments, and labels so that everything will serve it’s purposes.

Now, if “me” would just record reality as it truly exists I would have a most wonderful true-to-life movie. But, no “me” wants to assign “anything” (a part or script) to everything it values in the “take”. Of what does “anything” consist? It consists of expectations, judgments, and labels.

The most direct assignment of expectations, judgments, and labels is the one that “me” gives to itself in the “take” .

The next assignment of expectations, judgments, and labels is the one that “me” gives to other humans in the “take” .

The last assignment of expectations, judgments, and labels is the one that other humans give to “me” in the “take”.

Now, this is just one “take”. In the next “take” “me” and the other humans may have a whole new assignment of expectations, judgments, and labels that everyone wants to change in the script!

Each other human is a “me” that wants to assign “anything” (a part or script) to everything they value in their “take”. Their movie is a virtual reality of what they experience internally as they move through their lives.

Are you beginning to see how chaotic this scene is becoming? We haven’t even gotten to the “personally” part yet!

Then we add “personally” (emotions and feelings) to the scene. Somewhere among the lines each “me” has decided that it needs to be in control and is responsible for everyone in the scene. Everyone wants to be a director. A plethora of negative emotions and feelings arises and conflict is the result. Sounds like a typical scene from the world I live in.

How do I get out of this dilemma? This is what the “I” is for. As a detached observer or witness for the body it allows me to review what is going on inside of my mind where the movie recording is taking place. It allows me to freeze the frames of my movie to understand what is causing the emotions and feelings in my interactions with myself and others. All of my suffering is caused by my accepting all of the expectations, judgments, and labels that I have placed on myself and my accepting all of the expectations, judgments, and labels that others have placed on me.

This becoming a detached observer or witness for the body is what mystics called “awakening”. Before I used this practice I was actually sleepwalking through life; not really understanding and just reacting to the expectations, judgments, and labels that I have accepted from myself and others.

This becoming a detached observer or witness for the body allows me to unlearn my errors.

“The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue.” Antisthenes

“When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before.” Henry David Thoreau

“To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” Lao Tzu

“Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.” Bruce Lee

“The more you possess the more slavery you create around yourself. Freedom comes when you unlearn possessiveness.” Osho

“Do not store in your brain useless information. Unlearn whatever has been of no use to you. Then only can you fill your mind with great thoughts.” Sivananda

The Ins and Outs of Choice

 

The In’s and Out’s of Choice

Choice consists of two parts; inner and outer. The inner part is intention and the outer part is action.

Intention is about why you take an action. Intention is the non-physical component of choice. Intention can be defined with words like mission, purpose, and reason.

Action is about what you want to do, where you want to do it, and when you want to do it. Action is the physical component of choice. Action can be defined with words like behavior, conduct, and deed.

Let’s take a look at how one action can have different intentions. You might choose to be a Doctor to heal people or to get a high paying job. You might choose to give to a charity to feed people or to get an income tax deduction.

Luke 6:45  The good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart. And the evil man brings forth evil out of the evil treasure of his heart, for his mouth speaks out of the abundance of his heart.

A person’s intention, for any action, is based on the treasures of their heart. Intention is all about the value a person imbues into an action.

Is it possible for any action to have either good or evil intentions behind it?

Can a person have a good intention behind an action toward another and can the other perceive the action as evil?

What about taking an action without deliberately choosing an intention? After doing this myself many times, I hear myself say “I had no idea that would happen.” When you don’t deliberately choose an intention anything can happen. You take a rash action based on a rash intention which your subconscious mind chose based on your emotions at the moment. Sounds like a really poor recipe for success.

Taking an action without deliberately choosing an intention is like giving an accident an opportunity to happen. Distracted driving is the most common cause of road accidents in the United States, resulting in more crashes every year than speeding, drunk driving, and other major accident causes. If the distracted drivers had the intention of driving carefully fully aware of their surroundings, their rate of accidents would be greatly reduced.

So Choice should be done consciously and intentionally.

This makes life so simple; make as many choices in a conscious and intentional fashion as you can.

Simple but not easy.

Love the most misunderstood word in the English language

Love the most misunderstood word in the English language

7 Types of Love, according to the ancient Greeks-

Eros: Love of the body. Eros was the Greek God of love and sexual desire. …
Philia: Love of the mind or deep friendship. …
Ludus: Playful love. …
Pragma: Longstanding love. …
Agape: Love of the soul. …
Philautia: Love of the self. …
Storge: Love of the child.

-7 Types of Love, according to the ancient Greeks

What is the highest form of love?
Agape (Ancient Greek ἀγάπη, agapē) is a Greco-Christian term referring to love, “the highest form of love, charity” and “the love of God for man and of man for God”.

Sophia: The Ancient Greek word Sophia (σοφία, sophía) is the abstract noun of σοφός (sophós), which variously translates to “clever, skillful, intelligent, wise”. These words share the same Proto-Indo-European root as the Latin verb sapere (lit. “to taste; discern”), whence sapientia.

Philosophy Definition-

From the Greek ‘philo’, Love, and ‘Sophia’, wisdom, Philosophy is, literally defined, “the love of wisdom”. More broadly understood, it is the study of the most basic and the most profound matters of human existence. Philosophy, in the West, began in the Greek colony of Miletus with Thales (who, according to ancient sources, was the first to ask “What is the basic stuff of the universe from which all else comes?”) but spread outward in the works of subsequent thinkers and writers to reach its heights in the works of Plato and his pupil Aristotle. The mathematician and mystic Pythagoras (famed for his Pythagorean Theorem today) was the first to call himself a philosopher.

-Philosophy Definition

Do you see how defining Philosophy as “the love of wisdom”; is a much too narrow definition?

To me the definition of Philosophy is loving the mind so that you can have a deep friendship with cleverness, skillfulness, intelligence, and wisdom.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Where Do We Go From Here?: Chaos or Community”-

“Power, properly understood, is the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political or economic changes. In this sense power is not only desirable but necessary in order to implement the demands of love and justice. One of the greatest problems of history is that the concept of love and power are usually contrasted as polar opposites. Love is identified with a resignation of power and power with a denial of love . It was this misinterpretation that caused Nietzsche, the philosopher of the “will to power,” to reject the Christian concept of love. It was this same misinterpretation which induced Christian theologians to reject Nietzsche’s philosophy of the “will to power” in the name of the Christian idea of love. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”

-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Where Do We Go From Here?: Chaos or Community”

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

“My wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other we used to have. I guess I just don’t love her anymore and she doesn’t love me. What can I do?”

“The feeling isn’t there anymore?” I asked.

“That’s right,” he reaffirmed. “And we have three children we’re really concerned about. What do you suggest?”

“Love her,” I replied.

“I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.”

“Love her.”

“You don’t understand. the feeling of love just isn’t there.”

“Then love her. If the feeling isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.”

“But how do you love when you don’t love?”

“My friend , love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her. Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?”

― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

So love requires me to serve, sacrifice, listen, empathize, appreciate, affirm, etc….

“Behold, my brothers, the spring has come; the earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love! Every seed has awakened and so has all animal life. It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being and we therefore yield to our neighbors, even our animal neighbors, the same right as ourselves, to inhabit this land. Yet hear me, my people, we have now to deal with another race – small and feeble when our fathers first met them, but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil and the love of possessions is a disease with them . . . They claim this mother of ours, the earth, for their own, and fence their neighbors away; they deface her with their buildings and their refuse. They threaten to take [the land] away from us. My brothers, shall we submit, or shall we say to them: “First kill me before you take possession of my Fatherland.” – Sitting Bull’s Speech at the Powder River Council, 1877.

Matthew 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

So love seeks to serve, sacrifice, listen, empathize, appreciate, affirm, etc….”the earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love!”…”he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good”

Reflect on this:

What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love. – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Open or Closed

Open or Closed

The last blog post was about cognitive bias – a systematic error in thinking. Not all biases are negative; but all biases are limiting and care should be taken in creating biases. We need biases; which are merely shortcut folders in the subconscious that the logical mind needs to implement choice; but we need to be very careful in what we choose to limit our action and thinking about. Our thinking and memory are innately limited; but why compound this limitation with ignorance?

Psychology Today –

What Is Bias?

A bias is a tendency, inclination, or prejudice toward or against something or someone. Some biases are positive and helpful—like choosing to only eat foods that are considered healthy or staying away from someone who has knowingly caused harm. But biases are often based on stereotypes, rather than actual knowledge of an individual or circumstance. Whether positive or negative, such cognitive shortcuts can result in prejudgments that lead to rash decisions or discriminatory practices.

Bias is often characterized as stereotypes about people based on the group to which they belong and/or based on an immutable physical characteristic they possess, such as their sexuality. This type of bias can have harmful real-world outcomes, and can also increase susceptibility to “stereotype threat,” the phenomenon in which people behave in certain ways to avoid confirming a common stereotype about their own particular group.People may or may not be aware that they hold these biases.

The phenomenon of implicit bias refers to societal input that escape conscious detection. Paying attention to helpful biases—while keeping negative, prejudicial, or accidental biases in check—requires a delicate balance between self-protection and empathy for others.

– Psychology Today

Bias is disproportionate weight in favor of or against an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-minded, prejudicial, or unfair. Biases can be innate or learned. People may develop biases for or against an individual, a group, or a belief. In science and engineering, a bias is a systematic error.

A question opens the mind; it is a declaration to self that I do not know everything about the object of the question. It is the intention to continue the search of the object of the question.
An announcement of assumed fact or truth closes the mind; it is a declaration to self that I know everything about the object of the announcement. It is the intention to close the search of the object of the announcement.

If your everyday practice is open to all your emotions, to all the people you meet, to all the situations you encounter, without closing down, trusting that you can do that – then that will take you are far as you can go. And then you’ll understand all the teachings that anyone has ever taught. – Pema Chodron

Let’s take a look at some of the words used to describe bias: closed-minded, disproportionate weight, prejudicial, stereotypical, or unfair.

The phenomenon of implicit bias refers to societal input that escape conscious detection. Paying attention to helpful biases—while keeping negative, prejudicial, or accidental biases in check—requires a delicate balance between self-protection and empathy for others. – Psychology Today

Societal input in creating biases that escape conscious detection.

Whoa, come again…

Societal input in creating biases that escape conscious detection.

So some of our biases are created without our conscious mind knowing about them?

Pema Chodron says “If your everyday practice is OPEN to all your emotions, to all the people you meet, to all the situations you encounter, without closing down, trusting that you can do that…”

Being OPEN is paying attention to awareness of what is happening inside of you moment by moment; simple but not easy. This is how to discover or not create biases that escape conscious detection.

Another way of looking at biases is that they are file folders set up in the subconscious mind that are short cuts for the conscious mind. The conscious mind only has to open the file folder to get the subconscious mind to execute the complex bias. Another part of this file system is that the file folders reside in a folder in the root directory of the mind, this file folder is labeled paradigm.

Your paradigm is your set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that have been imprinted on your subconscious mind – your way of perceiving reality. Your subconscious mind merely obeys the commands it receives from your conscious mind. Your subconscious mind is an unquestioning servant that works day and night to make your behavior fit a pattern consistent with your emotionalized thoughts, hopes, and desires (belief system). Being OPEN should be a high level practice in your paradigm folder in the root directory of the mind.

Your subconscious mind does not question anything; implementing that function is up to your conscious mind. Being OPEN allows you to review the file folder in your subconscious mind before the conscious mind executes it.

So I ask Open or Closed?

Cognitive Bias

Cognitive Bias

Cognitive bias From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia-

A cognitive bias is a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment. Individuals create their own “subjective social reality” from their perception of the input. An individual’s construction of social reality, not the objective input, may dictate their behaviour in the social world. Thus, cognitive biases may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality.

Some cognitive biases are presumably adaptive. Cognitive biases may lead to more effective actions in a given context. Furthermore, allowing cognitive biases enable faster decisions which can be desirable when timeliness is more valuable than accuracy, as illustrated in heuristics. Other cognitive biases are a “by-product” of human processing limitations, resulting from a lack of appropriate mental mechanisms (bounded rationality), or simply from a limited capacity for information processing.

-Cognitive bias From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Heuristic From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia-

A heuristic technique (/hjʊəˈrɪstɪk/; Ancient Greek: εὑρίσκω, “find” or “discover”), or a heuristic for short, is any approach to problem solving or self-discovery that employs a practical method that is not guaranteed to be optimal, perfect or rational, but which is nevertheless sufficient for reaching an immediate, short-term goal. Where finding an optimal solution is impossible or impractical, heuristic methods can be used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution. Heuristics can be mental shortcuts that ease the cognitive load of making a decision.Examples that employ heuristics include using trial and error, a rule of thumb, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, a guesstimate, profiling, or common sense.

-Heuristic From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Biases and Heuristics are like two sides of the same coin, and bias conducts the more negative implications of when a heuristic goes wrong.

“A sect or party is an elegant incognito devised to save a man from the vexation of thinking.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The “elegant incognito” is the mental shortcut that eases the vexation of making a choice.

A cognitive bias is a (non-random) systematic error in thinking that affects the decisions and choices that people make. The way you remember an event may be biased for any number of reasons and that in turn can lead to biased thinking and decision-making. Let us first look at a list of cognitive biases:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases

I bet you didn’t know there were so many errors in thinking; clue- there are more that have not been written down yet.

Study the list looking for the continuum of narrowmindedness to openmindedness; all the biases are a narrowing of thinking.

Then study the list looking for the continuum of conflicting biases to agreeing biases. Conflicting biases are actually your subconscious mind arguing with itself; death spiral of obsession. Agreeing biases are the source of fundamentalism; my way is the only way.

Understand that you do not have just one cognitive bias; but a host of cognitive biases (patterns within patterns).

Another way of looking at cognitive biases is that they are file folders set up in the subconscious mind that are short cuts for the limited data transfer rates of the conscious mind. The conscious mind only has to open the file folder to get the subconscious mind to execute the complex cognitive bias. Another part of this file system is that the file folders reside in a folder in the root directory of the mind, this file folder is labeled paradigm.

Your paradigm is your set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that have been imprinted on your subconscious mind – your way of perceiving reality. Your subconscious mind is subjective. It does not think or reason independently; it merely obeys the commands it receives from your conscious mind. Your subconscious mind is an unquestioning servant that works day and night to make your behavior fit a pattern consistent with your emotionalized thoughts, hopes, and desires (belief system).

The most profound changes that a human being can make in life are to change your paradigm.

“The most necessary part of learning is unlearning our errors.” — Zeno

“When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before.” —Henry David Thoreau

“The mind is slow in unlearning what it has been long in learning.” — Seneca

“Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned.” — Mark Twain

Types of Cognitive Bias

Biases interrupt objective contemplation of an issue by introducing subjective influences into the decision-making process that are unrelated to the decision itself. We are usually unaware of the biases that can affect our judgment. The most common cognitive biases are:

1. Confirmation bias: Decision makers seek out evidence that confirms their previously held beliefs, while making less valuable the evidence in support of differing conclusions.

2. Anchoring: Overreliance on an initial single piece of information or experience to make later judgments. Once an anchor is set, other judgments are made by moving slightly away from that anchor, limiting one’s ability to accurately interpret new, potentially relevant information.

3. Halo effect: Observer’s overall impression of a person, company, brand, or product, influencing the observer’s feelings and thoughts about that entity’s overall character or properties.

4. Overconfidence bias: A person overestimates the reliability of their judgments. This can include the certainty one feels in her own ability, performance, level of control, or chance of success.

Cognitive biases are ways we all act irrationally.

What is rational behavior?

Rational means doing whatever is most consistent with your values (subconscious belief system).

Rational does not mean purely self-interested. It means acting in a way that’s consistent with what you value.

Human beings can rationalize doing anything they value.

More examples of cognitive biases

Bandwagon effect: The tendency for people to do or think things because other people do or think them. An example is choosing to get married because all of your friends are married.

Conservatism bias: Our inclination to stick to deeply held beliefs too much instead of revising our beliefs when presented with new information.

Omission bias: Tendency to judge harmful actions as worse, or less moral than equally harmful omissions (inactions). This bias is also one of the reasons why it can be a good idea to commit to something before you have to.

Ingroup bias: Tendency to treat people similar to us more favorably and to treat ‘outsiders’ with prejudice. This manifests itself not just as sexism, racism and other prejudices, but also intolerance of, say, political opponents.

Social desirability bias: Tendency to respond in a way that you believe someone wants.

Identifiable victim bias: Irrational tendency to be moved by stories impacting one person, than statistics of a similar effect on a large number of people.

The Peltzman effect describes how we take more risks when we feel more safe. After seat belts were first introduced, motorists actually drove faster and closer to the car in front of them.

The plot darkens: it’s only our friends and colleagues who are biased — me personally, I’m not biased! This is called the bias blind spot (where we can point out everyone’s biases except our own) and it’s a way that learning about biases can actually harm someone. With understanding of all these biases you might also fall into the trap of subjective rationalizing the decisions you’ve already made, rather than making objective decisions or getting closer to the truth.

As the study of heuristics and biases is a core element of behavioral economics, the psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer has cautioned against the trap of a “bias bias” – the tendency to see biases even when there are none (Gigerenzer, 2018).

Highest Purpose In Life

Existing with something outside of self to express joy.

Excerpt from blog post Conflict –

TRUTH just exists; touch a tree, hug a pet, jump in a lake, this is energy or spirit (TRUTH) in-form. The tree, pet, or lake just exists; TRUTH is existence; existence is TRUTH. How does existence conflict with anything?

– Excerpt from blog post Conflict

Flow (psychology) : From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –

In positive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time.

Named by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975, the concept has been widely referred to across a variety of fields (and is particularly well recognized in occupational therapy), though the concept has existed for thousands of years under other names, notably in some Eastern religions, for example Buddhism.

– Flow (psychology) : From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If this is such an old concept in what forms has it existed; I will list three: Dancing, Playing, and Singing. In ancient history they would be known as Dancing, Playing drum or flute, And Chanting; as part of spiritual practice.

Young children do everything with a reckless abandon of self and do not worry about what others think about them. Just watch a young child dance, play, and sing. It is really a shame that society will train that exuberance out of them.

A Dance is said to be graceful; grace does not define the dance but is the expression of a dance well done.

You Play a piano; not work a piano. In the beginning it might seem like work but that is the nature of practice. After practice you will feel the expression of a musical piece well done .

When I Sing tenor in a choir; harmony is the expression of a musical piece well done.

This afternoon I took a two hour hike and came upon a circle of Loblolly pine trees with a clear bed of needles & cones in the middle. I was so moved that I raised my arms to the sky and exhaled; then I lowered my arms and inhaled. I repeated this seven times. The trees breathed in carbon dioxide and exhaled oxygen; I breathed in oxygen and exhaled carbon dioxide. Highest purpose in life is about cooperation not conflict.

During the hike I was also transported back in time to when I witnessed a Chickadee singing up a storm in the middle of a blizzard. It was cold, very windy, and the snow was hitting my face with an impact that stung; yet this Chickadee was singing up a storm in the middle of a storm. There have been very few times in my life that I have experienced such pure joy.

Reflect on this:

Existing with something outside of self to express joy.

SOS

“Skins of Society”

The other day I found a black snake skin that had been shed in my back yard and it caused me to pause and reflect about my life. I have “skins” or patterns of energy that I need to shed in order to be my authentic self.

“Sometimes snakes can’t slough. They can’t burst their old skin. Then they go sick and die inside the old skin, and nobody ever sees the new pattern. It needs a real desperate recklessness to burst your old skin at last. You simply don’t care what happens to you, if you rip yourself in two, so long as you do get out.” — D. H. Lawrence
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” ― Gospel of Thomas
“Many people die with their music still in them. Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it time runs out.” ― Oliver Wendall Holmes

Now there is a duality involved with building and breaking patterns of energy. There are “skins” of the spirit and “skins” of the flesh.

The “skins” of the spirit are those patterns of energy that we need to build. These are not a problem in our lives and are actually an expression of our authentic self. They are “skins” that say “I am enough (occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations)”. These “skins” understand what it means to be interconnected to all the material world under an umbrella of spirit. The over arching energy pattern is LOVE.

enough adjective: occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations

The “skins” of the flesh are those patterns of energy that we need to break. These are a problem in our lives that I call the “Skins of Society”. When you notice one of these in your life it should sound off a loud “SOS” in your mind; that a change is necessary. The “world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else” has all sorts of “skins” to make you somebody other than yourself. They are “skins” that exist in the continuums or continua of: good-bad, right-wrong, superior-inferior, strong-weak, smart-dumb, beautiful-ugly, and many more. These “skins” understand what it means to be separate from all the material world and spirit. The over arching energy pattern is FEAR.

“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.” The Courage to Be Yourself: E.E. Cummings on Art, Life, and Being Unafraid to Feel

The “Skins of Society” are also used by us as shields to help us avoid having to work through some buried personal challenges. The strong “skin” can help us avoid feeling weak. The smart “skin” can help us avoid feeling dumb.

Now you might be asking yourself what are these “Skins of Society” actually covering?

Beginner’s Heart.

Beginner’s Heart is an accepting, curious, open, and vulnerable heart — full of awe and wonder.

Beginner’s Heart remembers that we are all at a common level; ONE.

Beginner’s Heart is willing to try, willing to fail, willing to learn from mistakes, and most of all willing to forgive through LOVE.

Ralph Waldo Emerson lived with Beginner’s Heart:“That which draws us nearer our fellow man, is, that the deep Heart in one, answers the deep Heart in another—that we find we have (a common Nature)—one life which runs through all individuals, and which is indeed Divine.”

The Dalai Lama lives with Beginner’s Heart:“All human beings are the same—made of human flesh, bones and blood. We all want happiness and want to avoid suffering. Further, we have an equal right to be happy. In other words, it is important to realize our sameness as human beings.”

We all are born with a beginner’s heart: a baby’s accepting, curious, open, vulnerable heart. But, as with all humans, this is trained out of us by Society and it is the “Skins of Society” that we use to cover Beginner’s Heart.

We also misuse the Law of Collectivity (see Golden Rule) and use it to hoard and hold on to offenses; which we need to cover with more “Skins of Society”. We resent what we feel has been done to us and want revenge.

How do you break the “Skins of Society”; these fearful patterns of energy? LOVE what you FEAR. Begin with yourself; LOVE what you FEAR about yourself. Then LOVE what you FEAR about everything else.

“Let your heart open now and let love flow from it; then extend this love to all beings. Begin with those who are closest to you, then extend your love to friends and to acquaintances, then to neighbors, to strangers, then even to those whom you don’t like or have difficulties with, even those whom you might consider as your ‘enemies’, and finally to the whole universe. Let this love become more and more boundless.” – Sogyal Rinpoche The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Do you have a “skin” that you need to shed?

Reflect on this:

Beginner’s Heart: I am occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations.

Ahimsa

Ahimsa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –

Ahimsa (Ahinsa) (ahiṃsā, avihiṃsā) means ‘not to injure‘ and ‘compassion‘ and refers to a key virtue in Hinduism and Jainism. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hiṃs – to strike; hiṃsā is injury or harm, a-hiṃsā is the opposite of this, i.e. cause no injury, do no harm. Ahimsa is also referred to as nonviolence, and it applies to all living beings—including all animals—in ancient Indian religions.

Ahimsa is one of the cardinal virtues and an important tenet of Jainism and Hinduism, and in Buddhism where it is the first of the five precepts. Ahimsa is a multidimensional concept, inspired by the premise that all living beings have the spark of the divine spiritual energy; therefore, to hurt another being is to hurt oneself. Ahimsa has also been related to the notion that any violence has karmic consequences. While ancient scholars of Hinduism pioneered and over time perfected the principles of Ahimsa, the concept reached an extraordinary status in the ethical philosophy of Jainism. Most popularly, Mahatma Gandhi strongly believed in the principle of ahimsa.

Ahimsa’s precept of ’cause no injury’ includes one’s deeds, words, and thoughts. Classical literature of Hinduism such as Mahabharata and Ramayana, as well as modern scholars debate principles of Ahimsa when one is faced with war and situations requiring self-defence. The historic literature from India and modern discussions have contributed to theories of Just War, and theories of appropriate self-defence.

– From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Mahatma Gandhi strongly believed in the principle of ahimsa.

Google search –

For Gandhi, ahimsa means: non-injury, nonviolence, non-harm, the renunciation of the will to kill and the intention to hurt any living thing, the abstention from hostile thought, word or deed, and compassion for all living creatures.

– Google search

Albert Schweitzer strongly believed in the principle of ahimsa.

http://www.schweitzerfellowship.org

excerpt –

Reverence for Life is a translation of the German “Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben”, and the word “reverence” is really not quite adequate. It lacks the German word’s overtones of awe before an overwhelming force. “Ehrfurcht” is respect carried to ultimate lengths. It holds reverberations of the feelings we experience on the tops of high mountains, in a storm at sea, or in a tropical tornado. This was the element that the African jungle gave to Schweitzer’s thinking―the acknowledgement of immensity and of overwhelming power―the force of continuing life and ever-present death in the vastness of nature.

– excerpt

For months on end, I lived in a continual state of mental agitation. Without the least success I concentrated – even during my daily work at the hospital – on the real nature of the affirmation of life and of ethics, and on the question of what they have in common. I was wandering about in a thicket where no path was to be found. I was pushing against an iron door that would not yield….In that mental state, I had to take a long journey up the river . . . Lost in thought, I sat on deck of the barge, struggling to find the elementary and universal concept of the ethical that I had not discovered in any philosophy. I covered sheet after sheet with disconnected sentences merely to concentrate on the problem. Two days passed. Late on the third day, at the very moment when, at sunset, we were making our way through a herd of hippopotamuses, there flashed upon my mind, unforeseen and unsought, the phrase : “Reverence for Life”. [lang|de| Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben] The iron door had yielded. The path in the thicket had become visible. Now I had found my way to the principle in which affirmation of the world and ethics are joined together!” — Albert Schweitzer

“He [Albert Schweitzer] is the only Westerner who has had a moral effect on this generation comparable to Gandhi’s. As in the case of Gandhi, the extent of this effect is overwhelmingly due to the example he gave by his own life’s work.” Albert Einstein

reverence noun:
deep respect for someone or something.
ARCHAIC
a gesture indicative of respect; a bow or curtsy.
a title given to a member of the clergy, or used in addressing them.

reverence verb:
regard or treat with deep respect.
Origin: from Latin reverentia, from revereri ‘stand in awe of’ (see revere).

Andrew Harvey in The Way of Passion –

One day Rumi asked one of his young, snotty disciples to give him an enormous amount of rich and delicious food. This young disciple was rather alarmed because he thought Rumi was living an acetic lifestyle. Rumi used to pray all night and hardly eat anything. The disciple thought, “Aha, now I’ve really got the master – what he really wants is to go off somewhere secretly and eat all this food!” So he decided to follow Rumi. He followed him through the streets of Konya, out into the fields, out into yet further fields. Then he saw Rumi go into a ruined tomb. “I am finally going to unmask his pretensions,” the young disciple thought. But what he found was a totally exhausted bitch with six puppies, and Rumi was feeding the dog with his own hands so that she could survive to feed her children. Rumi knew that the disciple was following him, of course, and turned to him smiling and said, “See?” The disciple, extremely moved said, “But how on earth did you know that she was here? How did you know that she was hungry? This is miles away from where you are!” Rumi laughed and laughed, “When you have become awake your ears are so acute that they can hear the cries of a sparrow ten thousand miles away.”

– Andrew Harvey in The Way of Passion

 

Modern man rarely has a reverence for life, because it requires humility as a lifestyle; not feeling superior to any other life.

This concept of reverence for life started to develop in Animism, was refined by certain types of Shamanism, and was carried forward into some of the old classical religions like Taoism, Hinduism, Shinto, Buddhism, and Judaism.

Ahimsa is the first precept in Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

Taoism is the first (religious?) practice where dualism shows up. Daoists hold that this is not an essential duality, but rather two mutually constituting and intricately linked parts of a whole, both of which are at all times present in all things and either may only achieve temporary dominance.

Hinduism has deep roots and a well documented history about it’s development.

In 539 BCE Persian king Cyrus the Great allowed Exiled Judeans to return to Judah, temple worship was restored, the scriptures were revised from a Judean perspective, and other worship practices like Shamanism were declared strictly forbidden idol worship.

Animism
Description: Animism is the religious belief that objects, places and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Potentially, animism perceives all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork and perhaps even words—as animated and alive. – Wikipedia

The basic original duality:

Light – presence of all visible energy – represented by the color white.

Darkness – absence of all visible energy – represented by the color black.

Key concepts of duality:

White – wholeness – good – love – nonphysical reality – extrasensory

Black – separateness- evil – fear – physical reality – sensory

I list duality just to show you that all choice is basically between light or darkness.

There are wide extremes in the practice of ahimsa:

The small practice is non-violence; just do no harm.

The wholeness practice of ’cause no injury’ includes one’s deeds, words, and thoughts; such as compassion when someone or something is hurting, action is required.

Reflect on this:

Rumi laughed and laughed, “When you have become awake your ears are so acute that they can hear the cries of a sparrow ten thousand miles away.”

Belief

Belief

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” Socrates

“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” William Shakespeare in Act I, Scene III, of his play Hamlet

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.” The Courage to Be Yourself: E.E. Cummings on Art, Life, and Being Unafraid to Feel

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” E.E. Cummings

What is your belief about belief?

Do you have religious beliefs, cultural beliefs, political beliefs, or fill-in-the-blank beliefs?

Do you believe that you share a belief system with a group of people? Does anyone else have Your Belief System?

I am going to shock you: there is no “WE” believe about anything; there is only “I” believe or “I” do not believe. It is Your Belief System! Your belief is something only you can hold.

Your Belief System is your set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that have been imprinted on your subconscious mind.

Your Belief System is your intention toward yourself that has been imprinted on your subconscious mind.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz-

The Belief System is like a Book of Law that rules our mind. Without question, whatever is in that Book of Law is our truth… There is something in our minds that judges everybody and everything, including the weather, the dog, the cat — everything. The Inner Judge uses what is in our Book of Law to judge everything we do and don’t do, everything we think and don’t think, and everything we feel and don’t feel… Every time we do something that goes against the Book of Law, the Judge says we are guilty, we need to be punished, and we should be ashamed…
There is another part of us that receives the judgments, and this part is called the Victim. The Victim carries the blame, the guilt, and the shame…

And this is all based on a Belief System that we never chose to believe. These beliefs are so strong, that even years later when we are exposed to new concepts and try to make our own decisions, we find that these beliefs still control our lives.

Whatever goes against the Book of Law will make you feel a funny sensation in your solar plexus, and it’s called FEAR…

-The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

You build Your Belief System CHOICE by CHOICE, but the question is “Is it your choice or somebody else’s choice?”

WHY (to set intent) is the question that should be asked and answered before any action is taken. It is what goes on inside of you; this is the most important thing in your life; where your value comes from.

Deliberate action turns knowledge into practical wisdom. © 2016 Russel Steffy

Deliberate action: The conscious intentional process of doing something.

Practical wisdom: the actual repeated application or use of valued ideas, beliefs, or methods; as opposed to theories
.
Deliberate Choice (done consciously and intentionally); every moment you choose what you see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. You choose how to move your body. You also get to choose value to what is happening to create an experience.

Do you choose consciously and intentionally?

If you do not make a deliberate choice to control the input, you will go into automatic mode and accept input from outside as valid. Then Religions, Political Parties, TV advertisements, and etc. get to program subconscious intention; they create your beliefs for you.
It is My Belief System and I want it to be a reflection of who I really am; that is why knowing myself and being true to myself are so important. Then it is Deliberate Belief.

Deliberate Belief (created consciously and intentionally by you!), do you now see WHY this is important?

Wasted Life

Wasted Life

The Golden Rule

Matthew 7:12 ‘All things, therefore, whatever you may will that men may be doing to you, so also do to them, for this is the law and the prophets.

This is what I call the Law of Collectivity – you love god- you love yourself-you love your neighbour (everything close by). The larger your love collective the closer you are to the ONE.

Definition of collectivity
1: the quality or state of being collective
2: a collective whole

collective – formed by collecting

What are you collecting in your life? Are you happy with your collection? Is your collection based on love or fear?

Here we have what I call the Tale of Two Gates:

Matthew 7:13 ‘Go you in through the strait{cramped, constricted} gate, because wide is the gate, and broad the way that is leading to the destruction, and many are those going in through it;
Matthew 7:14 how strait{cramped, constricted} is the gate, and compressed the way that is leading to the life, and few are those finding it!

strait στενός stenos sten-os’ ; narrow (from obstacles standing close about): – strait.

destruction ἀπώλεια apōleia ap-o’-li-a ; ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal): – damnable (-nation), destruction, die, perdition, X perish, pernicious ways, waste.

This Greek word and other derivatives of it are typically used in the New Testament with a sense of of ruin, loss, or being lost. Loss can occur in many ways and take on many forms, but nothing is ever annihilated. A physical form may disappear; but the energy/spirit pattern moves on to take form later; in-form to out-of-form back to in-form… in a never ending cycle.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man came to seek and save that which was lost.

that which was lost ἀπόλλυμι apollumi ap-ol’-loo-mee ; to destroy fully (reflexively to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively: – destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.

Destruction.—The word implies, not annihilation, but waste (Matthew_26:8; Mark_14:4), perdition, i.e. the loss of all that makes existence precious. I question whether a single passage can be adduced in which it means, in relation to material things, more than the breaking up of their outward form and beauty, or, in spiritual things, more than what may be described as the wretchedness of a wasted life (Plumptre).

A strait (very narrow) gate is what Jesus means to be seeking spirit.

Wide is the gate, and broad the way is what Jesus means to be seeking flesh.

A strait (very narrow) gate means you have to drop all the clutter of life to enter. This is very hard, takes a lot of practice, and few are willing to make the effort.

You must set aside the flesh by quieting the physical mind to get to the spirit.

You quiet the physical mind with still or moving meditation; things like Yoga, sustained conscious physical exercise, conscious awareness, conscious breathing, and many more.

Here are two mind pictures:

The flesh mind is like a lake or pond with a stiff breeze blowing and full of waves. We cannot see the reflection of the Cosmos on the surface while our self-centered thoughts clamor for our attention.

The spirit mind is like the same lake or pond at a still, calm moment. We have set our self-centered thoughts aside and we can now see the reflection of the Cosmos on the surface and commune with it.

Here is another look at the same theme as strait gate:

Matthew 6:6 “But when you* are praying, enter into your private room, and having shut your door, pray to your Father, the [One] in secret, and your Father, the [One] seeing in secret, will reward you in the open.

You have often heard that there is safety in numbers. There is only safety in the ONE. There is only ONE power and presence in the universe. I am just a small essence of that ONE; but I AM a part of ONE.

your private room ταμεῖον tameion tam-i’-on ; a dispensary or magazine, that is, a chamber on the ground floor or interior of an Oriental house (generally used for storage or privacy, a spot for retirement): – secret chamber, closet, storehouse.

secret κρυπτός kruptos kroop-tos’ ; concealed, that is, private: – hid (-den), inward [-ly], secret.

Judging Others

Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Matthew 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Matthew 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Matthew 7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Matthew 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

mote κάρφος karphos kar’-fos ; a dry twig or straw: – mote.

beam δοκός dokos dok-os’ ; a stick of timber: – beam.

How many times have you heard yourself or someone else say “boy that person needs a lot of help?” The truth is we all need a lot of help!

A solution that we propose to someone else that does not include that person’s ideas about what is best for them; is not a solution at all…only a judgement.

We can never even think about really helping others; until we fix ourselves.

Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

holy ἅγιος hagios hag’-ee-os ; sacred (physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated): – (most) holy (one, thing), saint.

pearls μαργαρίτης margaritēs mar-gar-ee’-tace ; a pearl: – pearl.

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value

Matthew 13:45-46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Matthew is using a simile to describe the kingdom of heaven…a pearl is a perfect simile because a fine pearl is a valuable treasure that needs no finishing by man. It comes to us complete and lustrous created by God through nature, as is the kingdom of heaven, which only God could create and perfect.

Luke 17:20-21 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of Elohim should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of Elohim cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here or, lo there for, behold, the kingdom of Elohim is within you.

Genesis 1:27 So Elohim created man in his own image, in the image of Elohim created he him; male and female created he them.

Matthew 6:9-10 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of Elohim are the image or spirit of Elohim that is at the center of your being.

That which is holy and your pearls refers to the image or spirit of Elohim that is at the center of our being. The dogs or swine refer to the flesh personified as a dog or swine. Both dogs and swine were unclean animals. The only varieties that would have been in a Jewish region would be feral and wild. Attacks by wild dogs and wild swine were well known.

This is the ultimate wasted life; using your spiritual energies only to fulfill the wild selfish desires of the flesh. If you pardon the pun; “they will only come back to bite you”.

Reflect on this:

Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.